Water Education - Water and Health

Safety Tips about Drinking the Water from A Private Well

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Human activities can greatly contaminate the groundwater which will end up in your well water. The EPA recommends that septic tanks and livestock yards be 50 feet away from the wall. Petroleum, manure storage, pesticides and fertilizer storage should be even further away at 100 feet.

It is important to test your well for pesticides, heavy metals, and organic chemicals before you use the water for the first time. Also, annual tests for nitrate and coliform bacteria should be done annually, especially in areas without sewers. If you use a private laboratory to conduct the testing, nitrate and bacteria samples will typically cost between $10 and $20 to complete. Testing for other contaminants will be more expensive, such as testing for pesticides or organic chemicals-- they can cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars. As we mentioned earlier, be sure to check with local health departments or local colleges with environmental science programs to see if help is available to ease the cost.

Several sources of pollution are easy to detect just by standing, smelling, and hearing what is nearby. Knowing what types of problems you face will help determine what kind of tests you need. However, underground water contamination can occur at any time and yearly testing may not be adequate anymore. In short, we do not recommend drinking water directly from your wells without any filtration/ protection, due to industrial contamination nowadays. We highly recommend that homeowners test their well water every 3-4 months to make sure they have safe drinking water, before consumption. After all, you OWN your well. So, you have the chance to always know what is in your water and can control the safety- without having to wait for a private company to tell you too late the water has a bug! Test frequently especially when you think there could be a problem. Otherwise, drink away.

Of course, it never hurts to play it safe and give yourself extra peace of mind by installing a water filtration system in your home. Having a well may require a lot of effort at first and may be overwhelming but it may be easier to take things to step by step. It is important to deal with this situation with caution and always remember that a properly maintained well can provide you and your family with safe water for a lifetime. Stay positive, there is always a solution for every situation!

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